Sun March 17, 2024

By Lance Hawley

Sports Razorbacks

Hogs Get 6-0 Win on Saturday Over Missouri

Diamond Hogs Arkansas Baseball
Hogs Get 6-0 Win on Saturday Over Missouri
By Otis Kirk

FAYETTEVILLE -- No. 1 Arkansas used a big sixth inning to take a 6-0 win over Missouri on Saturday at Baum-Walker Stadium in front of 10,434 fans.

The win assured of Arkansas (16-2, 2-0) of winning its opening SEC series. The Razorbacks defeated Missouri 8-0 on Friday night. Once again on Saturday, Arkansas got outstanding pitching from both starter Brady Tygart and reliever Will McEntire. The two combined to only allow one hit, walked five and struck out 12. McEntire (2-0) worked 4.1 innings allowing no hits, walking one and striking out five to earn the win. Dave Van Horn praised the job McEntire did to finish the game.

"Yeah, just really McEntire was outstanding finishing the game," Van Horn said. "Brady’s pitch count got up and he didn’t have his stuff but he battled out there."

Tygart pitched 4.2 innings, allowed one hits, walked four, struck out seven and hit two batters. He was pulled after 87 pitches and Missouri having two runners on with a pair of outs in the top of the fifth.

In an oddity of sorts, Arkansas got all its runs in the sixth inning. The Hogs only had five hits in the game with three of them being back-to-back-to back home runs to start the bottom half of the sixth. Peyton Stovall, Wehiwa Aloy and Kendall Diggs each had blasts to greet Missouri's new pitcher Bryce Mayer. Starter Javyn Pimental started and went five innings allowing only one hit. He walked one, fanned four and hit a couple of batters. Van Horn was impressed with Mayer despite the outburst by Arkansas.

"Yeah, we thought he would start a game here," Van Horn said. "I think they had been pitching him first in most of their series. Not 100% sure on that. We just have what we have. We have videos of other games and you kind of figure out what they’re throwing a little bit. But I think our guys just did a good job of fouling off a few pitches here and there and then got something they could handle. Aloy’s home run was a first-pitch breaking ball but it was in and he hammered it. It just got up in the wind and blew out of the park. I don’t know. I can’t say that he was tipping anything or we knew what was coming. They just saw it and hit it. I don’t know. Baseball’s funny. Nothing happens for five innings and then we explode for six."

After the home runs, Mayer retired Peyton Holt. Ben McLaughlin then walked and Jayson Jones was hit by a pitch. Ty Wilmsmeyer then pinch ran for Jones. After Nolan Souza flied out Ross Lovich delivered a two-RBI triple to plate McLaughlin and Wilmsmeyer. Lovich scored on a wild pitch by new Missouri pitcher Charlie Miller.

"Frustrating day at the plate," Van Horn said. "I thought their left-hander did a tremendous job against us. He tied us up. You know, breaking balls, fastballs in, getting jammed. But credit to the offense there in the sixth inning. We had a two-strike home run that gave us the lead. Then we had another two-strike home run, opposite field that put us up three then because we had another home run on the first pitch. And then another two-strike triple that scored two and put us up five. Then they wild pitch in the sixth run. That’s how quick it can happen. I tell the guys all the time that no lead is safe. You’ve got to keep building on it.

"That’s why it was really good to have McEntire in the game at that time. He was well rested. Once he got to the point where he had thrown a couple of innings it was like ‘Hey, let’s just let him go because he’s not throwing tomorrow anyway.’ But he’s got to go out there and pitch well and he did. That was big to save our pen. It was good for us to find a way to win this game when things weren’t looking real good early. But very rarely do you get a chance to win three in a row against the same team and we have that opportunity tomorrow and I hope we come out play well."

McEntire said he wasn't thinking about just eating up innings while on the mound.

"I don’t really typically think like that," McEntire said. "I kinda just go until I’m told that I’m not going any longer. I really enjoy coming out of the pen just cause you don’t really know when you’ll come in so you;ve just got to be in the moment."

Lovich had two of Arkansas' five hits and drove home two runs. Stovall, Aloy and Diggs each had one hit and drove home a run. Missouri second baseman Trevor Austin had Missouri's lone hit, a single in the top of the fourth.

Missouri (9-10, 0-2) did put together a threat in the top of the fourth. Jackson Lovich, younger brother of Arkansas' Ross Lovich, hit into a double play with a line shot to Aloy at shortstop. Aloy doubled Austin off first. However, Tygart walked three straight hitters to load the bases with two outs. Tygart got out of the jam with a line shot to Aloy at shortstop by Matt Garcia.

"You think about the fourth inning where they had a chance to take the lead and line out," Van Horn said. "Two pitches before that was strike three on a breaking ball and they didn’t call it. The game can change on one pitch. Thank goodness we had the shortstop shifted around a little bit. All the little things add up. Just moving him, a little scouting going on there that can do that. He lines out, we hold him there."

A similar scenario presented itself in the top of the fifth. Tygart fanned the first two hitters he faced. However, Tygart then hit a batter and walked another. That is when Van Horn went to the bullpen to bring in McEntire. The former Bryant standout struck out Lovich to end the Tigers threat. McEntire then went on to retire 12 of the next 13 hitters he faced in the game. He only gave up a walk to Kaden Peer with two outs in the seventh.

Arkansas and Missouri will play Game 3 of the series on Sunday with the first pitch set for 2 p.m. Arkansas will send Mason Molina to the mound on Sunday.

Photos Courtesy of Craven Whitlow CW3 Sports Action